Differences between fixed and adjustable rate loans

A fixed-rate loan features the same payment for the entire duration of your mortgage. The property tax and homeowners insurance which are almost always part of the payment will go up over time, but in general, payments on these types of loans change little over the life of the loan.

At the beginning of a a fixed-rate loan, the majority the payment is applied to interest. As you pay on the loan, more of your payment is applied to principal.

You might choose a fixed-rate loan in order to lock in a low interest rate. Borrowers choose fixed-rate loans because interest rates are low and they wish to lock in the lower rate. For homeowners who have an ARM now, refinancing with a fixed-rate loan can provide greater monthly payment stability. If you have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) now, we'd love to assist you in locking a fixed-rate at the best rate currently available. Call 1st Credential Mortgage Inc at (281) 778-0805 to discuss your situation with one of our professionals.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages — ARMs, as we called them above — come in a great number of varieties. Generally, the interest rates for ARMs are determined by a federal index. A few of these are: the 6-month Certificate of Deposit (CD) rate, the 1 year Treasury Security rate, the Federal Home Loan Bank's 11th District Cost of Funds Index (COFI), or others.

Most ARM programs have a "cap" that protects you from sudden increases in monthly payments. Your ARM may feature a cap on how much your interest rate can increase in one period. For example: no more than a couple percent per year, even if the index the rate is based on increases by more than two percent. Your loan may feature a "payment cap" that instead of capping the interest directly, caps the amount the payment can increase in one period. Most ARMs also cap your rate over the duration of the loan period.

ARMs usually start out at a very low rate that may increase over time. You may hear people talking about "3/1 ARMs" or "5/1 ARMs". For these loans, the initial rate is fixed for three or five years. After this period it adjusts every year. These types of loans are fixed for a number of years (3 or 5), then they adjust. These loans are best for people who anticipate moving in three or five years. These types of adjustable rate programs most benefit borrowers who plan to sell their house or refinance before the loan adjusts.

Most people who choose ARMs do so when they want to get lower introductory rates and don't plan to remain in the house longer than the initial low-rate period. ARMs are risky when property values decrease and borrowers are unable to sell or refinance their loan.

Have questions about mortgage loans? Call us at (281) 778-0805. It's our job to answer these questions and many others, so we're happy to help!

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